The Torquay boat ramp has a well deserved reputation as being the worst in the Geelong area. The location on the beach offers no real protection from wind and ocean swells. Extreme caution should be taken at all times especially when a high tide combines with a large swell or a south-easterly wind. Here are a few guidelines:
1. When in doubt don’t go out.
Often the ocean swells and winds are worse just offshore than they appear at the ramp. If you are not sure about the conditions check from the car park at Pt Danger.
2. Check your boat before you launch.
Check fuel, battery, safety equipment, bungs, radio and bait in the car park. Some members even start their boats before they launch. When conditions are less than perfect a quick getaway reduces the chance of mishaps.
3. Beware the sand that glistens.
Don’t stop on wet sand with a glassy appearance, your car, even 4wd’s can get bogged very quickly.
4. Don’t keep the car running.
Even on the sand with the dry appearance it is not a good idea to leave your car running if you are stationary for any length of time. The vibrations from the motor will sink the car into the sand.
5. Disconnect the trailer.
If you haven’t got a 4wd unhook the trailer and run the boat into the water, attach a long rope to the trailer to tow it out before you run it into the water.
6. Time your entry.
If there is a swell running you should wait until the sets ease. This will happen, if not refer point 1.
7. Spin the boat quickly.
As soon as the boat is in the water spin the bow into the waves. A wave in the back of the boat can end your day out. When the swell is up a right to left current runs along the beach. Stand on the up current side of the boat. The boat is easier to handle if it is out past where the waves are breaking. Again if the swell is that big maybe you should stay on the dry land.
8. Have the motor running before you push off.
Have the motor running (reliably) before you push off but make sure it is not in gear.
1. Pick your spot.
When the ramp is high and dry the best place to retrieve a boat is about halfway between the ramp and Yellow Bluff. There is usually less swell and cross currents in this area.
2. Beach your boat.
The safest option when a swell is running from the bluff towards the ramp is to beach the boat and winch it onto the trailer from the beach.
3. Be quick and prepared.
When you retrieve your boat with the trailer in the water have a rope tied to the draw bar of the trailer with a loop over the tow ball. Winch the boat as soon as possible, having somebody ready to drive the car off before the boat if fully loaded on the trailer.
4. Pull the trailer on an angle.
Never pull directly from the front of the trailer. Always have the trailer pointing at about 45 away from the car so that one wheel is pulled out first.
5. The tractor is for emergencies.
If you are unsure or in trouble please ask for help, the club has a tractor for emergencies.